Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy
NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman and Hao Duy Phan
Chapter 10: The principle and duty to cooperate: the case of conventions on transboundary pollution in Europe
Most transboundary pollution problems today are regional and global. A number of countries are at the same time both source, and as such potentially responsible, for the pollution, and victim of the pollution. The problem may also be the result of complex cause and effect relationships, including cumulative effects. These facts limit the scope and possibility for judicial and bilateral actions based solely on the international law of State responsibility for transboundary harm. This chapter deals with the principle and duty of States to cooperate as an important part of State responsibility to prevent transboundary pollution. It presents the essence and main aspects of the principle of cooperation. It examines two examples of regional cooperation in Europe, namely the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) and the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment in the North East Atlantic. It offers a few ‘lessons learnt’, showing that cooperation requires ‘packages’ of several essential and closely interlinked activities and commitments.
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